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NSW State Government RFS Levy: who will foot the bill?

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John Cobb, MP 

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security  Member for Calare 

NSW State Government RFS Levy - Who will foot the bill?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Federal Member for Calare, John Cobb, has slammed the NSW State Government’s ignorance regarding the implementation of a Rural Fire Services (RFS) Levy which has come as a result of the Royal Commission into the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires.

“The State Government has known for ages that there should be a universal levy for bushfire insurance - all the other states have one in place. Yet the Government has refused over the years to deal with this issue in a professional, business like manner.

“Currently, only people who insure pay the RFS Levy and if you don’t insure, you still gain all the benefits.

“Why should all these people get a free ride?

“At the end of the day it is the rate payers who have property at risk of burning. The RFS Levy should be implemented in the same way as shire rates, which is done on the value of your land.

“As it stands, each Local Government Area will pay a different price and will be forced to make a decision as to how they pay this levy which in most cases will be through the ratepayers.

“The other extreme is to cut essential fire services which is certainly not an option in our region.

“I am not arguing with the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfire Commission and I support the idea of increasing funding for essential fire services for our regional areas, but the money has to come from somewhere.

“The NSW State Government’s implementation of the levy has only created confusion and further uncertainty for Councils in the Calare electorate as to how they are going to able to foot the bill.

“The only fair and equitable way to deal with this Levy is if the NSW State Government changes the way it is done and implements a broad based property levy through council rates.

“The NSW State Government is clearly too unorganised to put a commonsense initiative in place which falls in line with our neighbouring states,” Mr Cobb said.

Media Contact Samantha Neal 02 6361 7138 0438 300 101